By Brett R. AHAP DEF Horace Greeley HS Chappaqua NY . American Intelligence in the War for Independence. “There is nothing more necessary than good intelligence to frustrate a designing enemy, and nothing that requires greater pains to obtain.”. George Washington.
Horace Greeley HS Chappaqua NY
in the War for
“There is nothing more necessary than good intelligence to frustrate a designing enemy, and nothing that requires greater pains to obtain.”
To what extent did espionage and intelligence aid the colonists in the American Revolution?
Paul Revere’s Route
A coded letter from Dr. Church to Maurice Cane, a British contact
Letter to Major Cane Decoded
To Major Cane in Boston,
The people of Connecticut are raving in the cause of liberty. A number from this colony, from the town of Stanford [Stamford], robbed the King's stores at New York with some small assistance the New Yorkers lent them. These were growing turbulent. I counted 280 pieces of cannon from 24 to 3 pounders at Kingsbridge which the committee had secured for the use of the colonies.
Letter to Major Cane Decoded, cont.
The Jersies are not a whit behind Connecticut in zeal. The Philadelphians exceed them both. I saw 2200 men in review there by General Lee, consisting of Quakers & other inhabitants in uniform, with 1000 rifle men and 40 horse who together made a most warlike appearance. I mingled freely & frequently with the members of the Continental Congress. They were united, determined in opposition, and appeared assured of success.
Washington did not really outfight the British, he simply outspied us!
British map and description of the winter quarters at Trenton
Emmanuel Leutze's Washington Crossing the Delaware
It is not my opinion, that Culper junior should be advised to give up his present employment. I would imagine that with a little industry, he will be able to carry on his intelligence with greater security to himself and greater advantages to us, under cover of his usual business, than if he were to dedicate himself wholly to the giving of information.
It may afford him opportunities of collecting intelligence, that he could not derive so well in any other manner. It prevents also those suspicions which would become natural should he throw himself out of the line in his present employment. He may rest assured of every proper attention being paid to his services.”
Sir, Your letter of yesterday came safe to my hand, and by the Dragoon who was the bearer of it I send you Ten guineas for C---r. His successor (whose name I have no desire to be informed of provided his intelligence is good, & seasonably transmitted) should endeavor to his upon some certain mode of conveying his information quickly, for it is of little avail to be told of things after they have become matter of public notoriety, and known to every body. This new agent should communicate his signature and the private marks by which genuine papers are to be distinguished from counterfeits.
There is a man on York Island living on or near the North River, of the name of George Higday who I am told hath given signal proofs of his attachment to us, & at the same time stands well with the enemy. -- If upon inquiry this is found to be the case (and much caution should be used in investigating the matter, as well as on his own account as on that of Higday) he will be a fit instrument to convey intelligence to me while I am on the west side of the North River, as he is enterprising and connected with people in Bergen County who will assist in forming a chain to me, in any manner they shall agree on.
The Capturing of Major John Andre
Sir, Although I think we understood each other clearly this morning and nothing was omitted which I could have to say on the Subject; it is, or may be, of too much importance not to take further pains that all may be perfectly well comprehended-- On our part we meet ArnGen (crossed out) Monk's overtures with full reliance on his honourable Intentions and disclose to him with the strongest assurances of our Sincerity, that no thought is entertained of abandoning the point we have in view. That on the Contrary powerful means are expected for accomplishing our end.
Lafayette and Armistead
This is to certify that the bearer by the name of James has done essential services to me while I had the honour to command in this state. His intelligences from the enemy’s camp were industriously collected and faithfully delivered. He perfectly acquitted himself with some important commissions I gave him and appears to me entitled to every reward his situation can admit of. Done under my hand, Richmond, November 21st, 1784. -- Lafayette